( according to the Church Calendar)
1. THE HOLY APOSTLE ANDRONICUS
Andronicus was one of the Seventy Apostles. He was a kinsman of St. Paul, as Paul himself writes: "Greet Andronicus and Junia, my relatives and my fellow prisoners; they are prominent among the apostles and they were in Christ before me" (Romans 16:7). Paul also mentions St. Junia, assistant of Andronicus. Andronicus was installed as bishop in Pannonia, but did not remain in one place, rather preached the Gospel throughout Pannonia. With St. Junia, he succeeded in converting many to Christ and destroyed many idolatrous temples. They both possessed the power of Grace to work miracles through which they drove out demons from men and healed every type of disease and illness. They both suffered for Christ and thus received the two-fold wreath: the apostolic wreath and the martyr's wreath. Their holy relics were discovered in the regions of Eugenius (February 22).
2. THE HOLY MARTYR SOLOCHON
Solochon was an Egyptian by birth and a Roman soldier under Commander Campanus during the reign of the nefarious Emperor Maximian. When the directive from the emperor was handed down that all the soldiers must offer up sacrifices to the idols, Solochon declared himself a Christian. Two of his companions also declared themselves Christians: Pamphamir and Pamphylon. The commander ordered that they be flogged and cruelly tortured from which Saints Pamphamir and Pamphylon died. Solochon remained alive and was subjected to new tortures. The commander ordered the soldiers to open his mouth with a sword and to pour the sacrifices of the idols into his mouth. The martyr broke the iron sword with his teeth and did not consume the foul sacrifice of the idols. Finally, they pierced a quill through both ears and left him to die. The Christians removed the martyr and brought him to the home of a widow where he gradually, by food and drink, became a little stronger and, again, continued to counsel the faithful to be persistent in their faith and in their sufferings for the Faith. Following that, he gave thanks to God, completed his earthly life and presented himself to the Lord in the kingdom of heaven in the year 298 A.D.
3. SAINT STEPHEN, PATRIARCH OF CONSTANTINOPLE
Stephen was the son of Emperor Basil the Macedonian and brother of Emperor Leo the Wise. He succeeded to the patriarchal throne after Photius and governed the Church of God from 889-893 A.D. He died peacefully and presented himself to the Lord Whom he greatly loved.
THE APOSTLES ANDRONICUS AND SAINT JUNIA
The Apostle Andronicus, a kinsman of St. Paul,
A preacher of peace and spiritual health,
For Christ burned, a flaming love
And throughout the world, carried the illuminating teaching;
Without much clothing, without pay and care,
Only rich in the power of the Divine Spirit.
With St. Junia, all tortures he shared
Until, throughout Pannonia, the cross he carried!
There, darkness vanished where the honorable Cross glowed,
Separated the wheat without chaff and straw.
Awakened men from animalistic sleep.
And the gift of God's adoption, embraced
As weak reeds, the idols they destroyed,
Discord and odius vices, they abandoned,
When the heart begins to sob, the mouth sang:
We are Your children, O Heavenly Father!
The light from Your apostle, we now receive,
Forgive us, that slaves to the idols we were.
Following a terrible earthquake in Antioch, St. John Chrysostom spoke to the people: "Great are the fruits of an earthquake. Behold the Man-loving Lord Who quakes the city and strengthens the soul, Who sways the foundation and strengthens the thoughts, Who shows the weakness of the city and makes the will of the people powerful! Turn your attention to His love for mankind: He sways for a while - and strengthens forever; earthquake - for two days, but the devotion should remain for all times; you were sorrowful for a short time - but strengthened forever. A mother, wanting to wean her child from of the habit of frequent crying, strongly rocks its little crib not in order to harm it, but to frighten it. Precisely, thus the Lord of all, Who holds the universe in His hands shakes it, not in order to destroy it, but rather to bring back those men to salvation who live lawlessly." Behold this is how the Holy Fathers, the pillars of the Universal Church, knew how to explain God's love for man, both assaults in the same way as good works, and misfortune the same way as fortune. Let us who are slow to give thanks to God be ashamed when He gives and quick in our murmuring toward him when He takes away.
To contemplate the action of God the Holy Spirit upon the holy martyrs for the Faith:
1. How the Holy Spirit gives them wisdom to speak before judges;
2. How the Holy Spirit gives them courage to die on the scaffold.
About the Holy Spirit the Comforter
"But the Comforter the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in My Name, He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said to you" (St. John 14:26).
What practical meaning do these words have, if not that it is necessary that we pray daily that the Holy Spirit be sent to us just as we pray every day for our daily bread? God is willing to send us the Holy Spirit every day but He seeks that we pray daily for the Holy Spirit. For as, in regard to bread which is, at one time abundant and at another time scarce, so it is also in regard to the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit comes to us and departs from us, according to our zealousness and our slothfulness in prayer, according to our good deeds and our patience. That is the reason why the Church established that morning services begin with an invocation of the Holy Spirit: "O Heavenly King, the Comforter, the Spirit of Truth, Come!", and after that comes the prayer: "give us our daily bread!" Why? Because, without the Holy Spirit, we do not even know how to use bread as it should be used for our salvation.
"He shall teach you all things." That is: every day and every night, according to the conditions and circumstances in which you will find yourself in, He will direct you, counsel you, teach you what you should think, what you should say and what you should do. For that reason, implore from God only the Holy Spirit and all else He Himself will bring with Him all that you will need at that particular moment. When the Holy Spirit shall descend upon you, you will know all, understand all and you will be capable of all that is necessary.
"And bring all things to your remembrance whatsoever I have said to you." That is: do not be afraid that you will forget my teaching and my words. The Holy Spirit also knows all that I know so when He will be present in you all My teaching will be present in you, together with Him.
O Lord, Holy Spirit deign to descend upon us not according to our merits but according to the merits of the Lord Jesus and according to Your infinite goodness.
To You be glory and thanks always. Amen.